Rebuilding Together Receives Older Adult Home Modification Program (OAHMP) Grant, Partners with Occupational Therapists Nationwide

September 9, 2021
by Melissa Stutzbach, Director of National Programs and Impact Measurement at Rebuilding Together National

Stay at home orders during the COVID-19 pandemic shed light on housing conditions that put health and safety at risk, especially to avoid unnecessary hospitalizations and skilled nursing facility admissions that can be prevented. Since 2001, Rebuilding Together has provided home modifications to older adults and people with disabilities to remain safe, healthy and independent in their homes and communities for as long as possible. Through ongoing collaboration with the American Occupational Therapy Association, the University of Southern California Leonard Davis School of Gerontology, and many boots-on-the ground falls prevention initiatives, Rebuilding Together has grown to be one of the leading national home modification providers for neighbors in need.

In early August, Rebuilding Together was awarded a combined $3.8 million as part of the Older Adult Home Modification Program (OAHMP) grants. The national organization and three of its affiliates (Rebuilding Together Saratoga County, Rebuilding Together Philadelphia and Rebuilding Together San Antonio) each secured this funding from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) in order to provide critical home repairs, including modifications to facilitate aging in place, on a total of 674 homes.

The execution of the OAHMP grants requires a home assessment by a licensed occupational therapist or supervised occupational therapy assistant. Working together with affiliate leaders, occupational therapists will help identify the repairs most critically needed for neighbors and families to facilitate aging in place. The types of repairs to these homes will include bathroom renovations (i.e. installing no-slip strips, grab bars, transfer benches) and accessibility features (i.e. lever handles on all doors and faucets, handheld shower heads, wheelchair ramps).

In addition to the accessibility needs to age in place, we know 1.5 million rural homes nationwide are considered moderately or severely substandard. The OAHMP grant awarded to Rebuilding Together will be split to support existing programs serving older adults in rural communities in Florida, Minnesota and Oregon.